JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas --
Members of the 149th Fighter Wing’s Security Forces Squadron witnessed a unique life event during Saturday’s regularly scheduled drill, centered on a father and son’s jointly-held enlistment and retirement ceremony, March 24, 2018.
During the joint ceremony, Tech. Sgt. Manuel Mauricio, a member of the 149th SFS, Air National Guard, retired after 27 years of service while his son Nathaniel Mauricio of College Station, Texas, enlisted into the same 149th Air National Guard unit as his dad.
Manuel, the elder Mauricio, had nothing but high praise for the squadron during his retirement speech.
“No matter what’s going on between members of the squadron, when it’s crunch time, everybody pulls together and completes the mission because at the end of the day we’re one big family,” said Manuel.
Since the Mauricio family boasts an extensive military heritage, swearing-in seemed like the natural path for Nathaniel.
“Joining was something I always wanted to do, because nearly every guy in my family, going back several generations, has served in basically every branch of the military,” said Nathaniel, the younger Mauricio.
Nathaniel was exposed to the Air Force culture by his dad who brought him to base many times throughout the years.
“We went to air shows all the time and were always on base,” Nathaniel said. “It’s where I’ve been getting my hair cut for the past 21 years. I’ve been surrounded by that atmosphere my whole life, so it just made that decision so much easier. I know half the guys here already, so I’ve always been in this family.”
Nathaniel plans to eventually follow in his father’s path in his civilian career as well by working in law enforcement.
“The other [reason I enlisted] is servant leadership, devoting your time to do the right thing, that’s how I’ve tried to live my life,” said Nathaniel. “I seek fulfillment by helping others and by helping my dad continue his career. It’s all worth it to me.”
Friends and co-workers remarked on how Manuel is someone they’d want to go into battle with because he is the “epitome of a true warrior and defender.”
Manuel said it gives him a great sense of pride to know that his son will continue the family legacy. Instead of retiring his security forces police badge, he chose to pass it down to Nathaniel.
“I know a lot of people are going to look at him and say he’s filling my shoes, but he must keep in mind that he’s his own person, and he’s filling his own shoes, not his dad’s,” said Manuel.